Another 672 Barrow Countians received their second COVID-19 vaccine dose over the last week, bringing the total number of fully-vaccinated county residents to 1,543 as of Tuesday, Feb. 23, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

In addition, 4,131 county residents had received their first of two doses as of Tuesday afternoon, up from 3,879 on Feb. 16.

The increase in vaccinations comes as the state last week announced four mass vaccination sites around Georgia, including a northeast Georgia location in Clarkesville. Georgia has not yet expanded eligibility for the vaccine, though that move could come within the next couple of weeks, Gov. Brian Kemp said Thursday, Feb. 18. Residents 65 and older, health care workers, nursing home residents and staff, and first responders can pre-register for a vaccine appointment at myvaccinegeorgia.com.

Bethlehem Family Healthcare on Resource Parkway in Winder has been designated as a mass vaccine provider by the state and is now vaccinating qualified individuals. The business has a community vaccine clinic, in conjunction with the Barrow County Chamber of Commerce, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Winder Community Center, 113 East Athens St. Those signed up will receive their first dose Saturday and second dose on March 20 at the same location.

The procedure to sign up is as follows:

•Fill out the COVID-19 vaccine request form and pre-registration form online at www.bethlehemdoc.com.

•Personnel with Bethlehem Healthcare will schedule appointments as soon as they have received both forms and depending on vaccine supply.

•Once the appointment is scheduled, people will receive an email confirmation with the date and time of the appointment.

Vaccines are being offered to those qualified to receive it by appointment only through the Barrow County Health Department and other local providers.

For a vaccine locator, go to https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

FIVE MORE DEATHS REPORTED

Meanwhile, the DPH reported another five deaths from COVID-19 among county residents over the past week, bringing the confirmed death toll to 114, along with one additional “probable” death, as of Tuesday afternoon.

The number of new daily cases continued a downward trend, as the DPH confirmed 17 cases in the county on Tuesday with a seven-day new-case average of 19.9 and a PCR test positivity rate of 13.8 percent over the last two weeks. In all, at least 7,892 county residents have become infected with the coronavirus.

Hospitalizations in the area also continued on a steady decline over the past week. Northeast Georgia Health System reported Tuesday morning that it was treating 115 patients across its facilities who were confirmed to have COVID-19, while another 36 were awaiting test results. The numbers included seven COVID-positive patients at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Barrow in Winder and 26 at NGMC Braselton.

The test positivity rate over the past week across at NGHS facilities has dipped below 9 percent. The system reported three more deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the cumulative total at its facilities to 902.

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